Zimbabwe Says Men Dressed in Police, Army Uniforms Wrought Havoc

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s police and military blamed violence during last week’s protest on men masquerading as soldiers in stolen military uniforms.

Criminals dressed as soldiers and police “hired vehicles from car hire companies” before committing criminal acts, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told reporters late Saturday in the capital, Harare.

“The explanation is as pathetic as it is ridiculous,” David Coltart, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party’s legal secretary, said by telephone.

Thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets last week, barricading roads and torching some government property to protest the state’s doubling of fuel prices. The violence killed at least 12 people and left scores with injuries.

In a separate interview with Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster, presidential spokesman George Charamba said blocking access to the internet last week “was necessary.”

”The internet was a tool that was used to coordinate violence. Naturally, when you’re reacting to a conspiracy of that nature, you ensure that society is protected. There’s no way that you expect us to sacrifice a national good for the sake of the internet,” he said.

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